“The ABC has three distinct benefits for me and my firm. First, the presentations are informative and address issues relevant to my practice, be it marketing techniques or improving my online presence. Second, I have received referrals from fellow members within my...Read More
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To reserve your seat, or to learn more, please contact Dina@abcfornetworking.com.Read More
What happens if you filed your claim of lien with a typo, misprint or other insignificant mistake? Not much, not if you have substantially complied with the Notice to Owner and Claim of Lien requirements as to content and time. As any Florida construction lawyer will tell you, minor errors or omissions should not prevent the enforcement of a Claim of Lien against a person who has not been adversely affected by such omission or error. Complying with all the technical statutory components for filing a claim, while desirable, is neither required nor should it form the basis for denial of the enforcement of an otherwise valid lien. But a lienor must still be careful. All this could quickly change if some prejudice is shown to the owner or another affected party.
A lienor should not intend to rely on the equity of a court to overlook an error in a Claim of Lien or Notice to Owner. This would be a gamble with dire consequences. Similarly, an owner should not expect that a technical oversight on the part of a lienor will necessarily result in an invalid lien. This is especially true if the owner was aware of the error early on and chose to do nothing about it.
All in all, a lienor would be smart to catch and correct any errors, no matter how minor, before filing that Florida claim of lien.Read More
An owner or general contractor may not know where the plumber or electrician on a job is obtaining his materials and whether monies being paid are getting to appropriate suppliers. But this mystery can be easily solved. As any construction attorney knows, the lien law actually allows you to obtain this information. Just ask. The owner or general contractor can simply serve a formal request on any lienor through a sworn statement of account.
Show me the information
The demand must be served on the lienor at the address and to the attention of any person who is designated in the notice to owner. The demand must prominently display the following (or similar) advice: WARNING: YOUR FAILURE TO FURNISH THE REQUESTED STATEMENT, SIGNED UNDER OATH, WITHIN 30 DAYS OR THE FURNISHING OF A FALSE STATEMENT WILL RESULT IN THE LOSS OF YOUR LIEN. The failure to notarize an otherwise accurate and timely Statement of Account is fatal to a construction lien claim. Strict compliance is required.
The Statement of Account
A Statement of Account must be in writing, given under oath and contain:
No ifs, buts or maybes on this. Fail or refuse to furnish the Statement within 30 days after the demand or provide a false or fraudulent statement and you will lose your lien. Period.Read More
Why’s that? For one, a laborer need not serve a notice to owner to perfect his or her lien. The rationale for exempting laborers from certain notice requirements is that an individual laborer will not work long without pay and consequently will not have a large claim unknown to the owner or general contractor.
Who is considered a laborer?
The statutory definition of a laborer is “any person other than an architect, landscape architect, engineer, surveyor or mapper and the like who, under a properly authorized contract, personally performs on the site of the improvement labor or services for improving real property and does not furnish materials or labor service of others.”
Labor Pool vs. Laborer
A labor pool, however, is not a laborer. Florida law clearly distinguishes between those who personally perform work and those who merely furnish persons to do the work. For all practical purposes, a labor pool or temporary labor supply firm is a subcontractor or a sub-subcontractor and as such must comply with all of the notice requirements of that class of lienor.
It is only the laborer who gets to file a lien regardless of any contractual relationship with the owner of the improved property.Read More
Is there such a thing as copyright infringement on a set of construction plans? Yes there is. Courts have found that an original design of a building embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including plans or drawings, is subject to copyright protection.
Don’t Do This
Unhappy with the final bid price he received from contractor A, an owner sought out contractor B and provided him copies of the original contractor’s plans and specifications, after having first deleted contractor A’s name and address. Contractor B provided a lower price and was retained by the owner. However, nearly all aspects of contractor A’s plans and specifications were used by contractor B including in obtaining permits.
Not a good move by the owner. A court concluded the owner was required to compensate contractor A for its damages associated with this infringement.
One further issue is worthy of attention. Drawings created after March 1, 1989, do not require a copyright notice to be protected. Protection is granted once the work is fixed in a tangible medium (i.e., when the design professional draws the plans by hand or electronically). Therefore, the absence of a copyright notice or the lack of a registration with the Copyright Office does not necessarily mean that there is no copyright in the work. Notwithstanding, providing proper copyright notice and registering works with the Copyright Office is an easy and inexpensive way to assert your rights. Moreover, registering works with the Copyright Office provides certain incentives such as the ability to recover up to $100,000.00 in statutory damages per infringement.
Copyright your construction plans. It’s easy; it’s smart; and it’s something every design and construction professional should do.Read More
You decide to sell some of your spare equipment. Because the buyer can’t afford to pay the full purchase price in a lump sum, you agree to accept a promissory note calling for monthly payments over a couple of years. You even go so far as to have your construction lawyer record a security interest in the equipment you’re selling. Unfortunately, the buyer defaults after a year and abandons the equipment. You manage to get it back but the equipment is now one year older, not worth what it was when you originally sold it, and still has the bulk of the purchase price unpaid. So you opt to sell it again in hopes of recovering some of what you’re still owed. What do you need to do to sell your repossessed equipment?
The Right Way To Sell
A recent case has made clear that selling repossessed equipment absolutely requires that the sale be conducted consistent with industry standards. That involves making sure the method, time, place and other terms of sale are properly noticed and are commercially reasonable. This is necessary as the law seeks to prevent a creditor from unfairly underestimating the value of its repossessed equipment or from reacquiring its collateral at less than the equipment’s true current worth.
Notice Always Needed
Once someone questions the reasonableness of the sale, the burden will be on you to establish that disposition was fair and according to the law. The court in the case we mentioned went on to state “the importance of correct notice cannot be overstated.” Indeed, the failure to properly notice the defaulting buyer, the very person who caused the sale of the collateral in the first place, will call into question all other aspects of what may have been a perfectly reasonable sale and require you to do it all over again.Read More